The Colonel: he’s Britain’s secret weapon!

The fantastic adventures of a little-known hero

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 10 September 1961

NOW it can be told — the best kept secret of War and Peace in our time — from the unpublished (and unlikely ever to be published) biography of the fabulous Colonel Trumper.

Brought to your screens through the fearless enterprise of Granada TV, you can see the first of a new, half-hour series entitled Colonel Trumper’s Private War next Friday.

Based very loosely on the fantastic activities of this hitherto unknown British undercover agent, the screen stories will star Dennis Price as Trumper.

Dennis Price
Double-take: Dennis Price interviews Colonel Trumper

Who is Trumper? Remember the Lubenski Affair? Operations Sea-Biscuit and Barbarhubarb? The Crisis of ’47, the Berlitz Blockade — yes, and even Suarez?

At last it can be revealed — Trumper was the man behind them all. Indeed they might never have happened but for him. He is one of the “faceless” ones of Counter Intelligence.

The man “with the mind of a criminal and the morals of a Borgia”: the man who by himself made the spearhead of a conquering host — Colonel Basil Trumper.

Here now, as a curtain-raiser to the “jolly good show” all the world will soon he talking about, is part of his biography:

Extract from:

by Brigadier ‘X’

Admittedly the war has been over for some time now. The ’39 War, that is. But it seems as if it were only yesterday that I first met fabulous Colonel Trumper.

As I recall, it was early in 1940 in the basement of a big steel and concrete building near Chalk Farm Tube Station. I was something in Intelligence in those days.

I particularly remember the light over my door changing from red to green just before Trumper made his entrance into my sector. I knew at once he was not only “safe,” but very well-connected upstairs.

He came into the room as grey as January. But cares couldn’t spoil his good looks. He wore a ‘tache in those days and all of us in the Mess were agreed, he looked remarkably like actor Dennis Price.

I promptly gave him my fullest attention and was rewarded with one or two historic confidences that I will always treasure.

It was just before he formed his now famous Private Army. Indeed he must have had the thing in train that afternoon because I can still feel that peculiar frozen calmness about him which only the biggest minds seem able to summon up for the really big issues.

Trumper threw himself on to a chair with an expression I read as meaning we would fight them on the beaches.

“You’ve heard the news?” he said squinting balefully.

Before I could say “No” or “What news?” Trumper the veteran said, in a tone suitable to one who had just left the side of The Old Man:

“It’s seconds out of the ring, old boy. John Bull’s at bay. They’re looking for leadership in this darkest hour — and, by God, I’m going to go for ’em.”

Two men peer over a wall
In every dark corner lurks the intrepid Colonel Trumper. Here he is on a rescue mission with Pan Malcov (Warren Mitchell)

I will confess now that I shivered slightly as he said this. He was resolution personified. Then he spoke again.

“You know, of course, about Hitler’s astrologer?” he asked me suddenly. I didn’t, but kept quiet. This was big stuff

“Well,” he went on quietly, “I think I’ve found one for Britain I want you to get on to MI 14 at once. Tell them I must have the birth dates of all German officers above the rank of Colonel before 0600 tomorrow. No holds barred. That’s the only way to fight,” he muttered as he left me to begin work on his now famous defeat of Hitler’s Invasion Plans for Britain.

“When a TV series based on my biography was first mooted,” Brigadier X told me, “we all thought Trumper himself would play the lead. Security, however, said ‘No.’ muttering darkly, England may need him again before too long.

“Fortunately, we were able to persuade his near-double, actor Dennis Price, to play the part. And I must say the likeness he portrays is devilish good.

“Price only used a mirror in the early stages of capturing his mannerisms. He now actually thinks like Trumper. A brilliant show!

“For example, when the gentlemen from ITV asked me to put Mr. Price through his paces before he was passed as Trumper. I asked him out of the blue about his chequered career as far back as the affair in Karachi in ’37.

“He replied, quick as a flash:

‘She was blonde. Only a quick posting saved me there.’

“And Catterick in ’39?”

‘Ah yes—a lovely brunette. The only thing mat saved me then was the war.*

“And what did your CO say to you before you went into action in 1940?”

‘If you can do to the German Army what you’ve done to ours — heaven help them?

“Yes, he was devilish goodin fact, he is good, as you can see for yourselves on Friday.”

Two men in a boat
Still in the dark – Trumper and Malcov with dinghy, lamp and water (?) bottle

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